The Clouds Are Gathering

A new report has just been released by the technology research company Forrester that speculates where business and technology will be by 2020.  The most salient item from their report is their belief that cloud computing is not only the future, but the future is happening sooner than most think.

The report cites the belief that technology for both mobile computing and cloud storage will be improving at a very sharp clip, at the expense of many current systems used in enterprise computing.  As a result of this, control over cloud computing will be limited to a select few empowered companies, which Forrester labels as “computing cartels.”  These cartels will likely control millions of data servers around the globe, upon which will be held vast quantities of information.  Companies specifically mentioned by Forrester as potential “cartels” include Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), and IBM (NYSE:IBM). Notable by their absence were names like Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ).  The cartels, according to Forrester vice president Kyle McNabb, will all be “multinationals,” but its worth noting that all of those listed were US based companies.  “It could happen in China and Europe too,” stated McNabb, who co-authored the study, “but we don’t see the same innovation there.”

Forrester believes that the benefits of cloud computing will be low costs for consumers and businesses, ease of use, and relatively low maintenance expenditures by the cartels in question.  As to how the marketplace will be divided, the report felt that the companies will mainly target specialized sectors.  Consumer data, for instance, will be a priority of someone like Amazon while Oracle may focus more on productivity matters.  They may also target their approaches to particular industries, like health care, high finance, or education.

One aspect of this may mean that companies that end up using cloud systems will have to focus less on hardware (with most, indeed, no longer having to hold onto their hardware) and instead focusing on …

software initiatives, and specifically those that single out individual desires.  This essentially means that people can tailor made their products to keep up with individual tastes and desires and thus work more rapidly and efficiently.

The concern, stated by McNabb, is that many companies are not yet ready or willing to participate in such a seismic shift in enterprise computing,  Apparently, despite such an obvious dependence on handset and tablet use in the marketplace, many companies have proven unwilling to move beyond even open source computing, establishing that many may still prefer the permanence and implied security of physical hardware for their business operations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morris at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com